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    Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

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    Sithlyone
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    Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Sithlyone on Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:53 pm

    Using XP as a currency system is what this thread is dedicated to. Not what actions garner XP (that will be it's own thread), but what XP should accomplish and when to distribute it.

    Normally XP just indicates what level you are and how far you are away from the next level. However that is a stagnant system and XP just becomes a stale part of the game. The hope is that we can make XP a vibrant and useful part of the game.

    Players will not just be focused on how to gain XP but how they can spend it. This will make the game more simple in a way. It can actually remove the whole "Talent/Feat" part of the game. And this can easily tie into the "Sphere Grid" idea.

    Ok, I just looked up the FF10 Sphere grid and one thing that stood out to me was that it seemed very linear. Meaning, you couldn't get a specific ability without getting previous ones in a particular set. While I like the concept, I would like to suggest that we do it more open. Not completely open but allow the PC's to have more of an opportunity to create their character as they like. My ideas follow.

    Let's start:

    1. Each player starts in a segment of the "sphere" with zero XP. Let's call it the "Zero Point". Each point from the Zero point gives the PC another "Ability/Talent/feat/skill" etc.

    2. Each "point" connects to other points. We can have it connect to 3, 4 or 5 different "Points". Each "point" going in very different customizable directions. For example, "North" could be combat. And in the "Combat" section of the sphere you can break it down even further and have different sections for Hand to hand, Melee weapons, Short ranged weapons, long ranged weapons and special attacks.

    2b. Each section of the sphere can be subdivided as much as you like. The more subdivided the more unique each and every character can be. Each subdivided area will need to be equal and have the same amount of points, this way, it is easier to gauge the difficulty of each ability (point on the sphere).

    3. The first thing we need to do is figure out how many different "Sections" of the sphere we want. Each section should be a main focal point of the characters development.

    4. Then we can start to fill out each "Section" and assign an XP value to it.


    First attempt at building a rough draft. This is no where near what I was thinking but it gave me an idea of how to proceed with the sphere. Each "point" is a different ability that the PC can purchase with their XP. The PC can go in whichever direction he/she wishes and build out from the "Zero Point".



    Notice the different colors. This indicates the different segments of the sphere. Also the big colored points can be used as special abilities and can cost more XP to buy. These are also the only ones that are "Bottle Necked" and you can only get to them from certain other ones. All other points are accessible from other areas.

    The Sphere can grow even larger and larger beyond what I put in this mock up.
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    Sithlyone
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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Sithlyone on Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:47 pm

    @Mrred82 Here is another type of grid. Obviously this too is a very raw but it gives you a basic idea. I like the Hexagons, they give you a nice ability to open up to many different talents/feats.


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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Kj_leigh on Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:28 am

    Thinking along the lines of ffx spear grid, I believe that grid was split into several (6 I think) "zero points". If your grid was split up similarly, with a variety of points that a player could begin in, it would allow for a player to quickly level into whatever role they wanted to fill.

    The problem I see with starting from a central point would be the high chance of multiple characters following the same path. In ffx, even though characters start in a " class" grid, you soon are able to branch into whatever other grid you want to be in.

    Say you had a character who wants to be a tank; why wade through unnecessary starting grid points when you could drop into a "zero point" that is already created toward building a tank, yet with the opportunity to branch out later. If he were to start with all the other characters at a central location, chances are that for several sessions he would be almost identical to any one or more of the other characters. Stat-wise your tank would be indistinguishable from your medic until they branched away from each other.

    So instead of branching outward, why both branch inward with the higher skill levels being near the inner rings. I feel like the only other way to do it would be a descending skill tree (working down a column of branching skills) or go fully class based with each class having a dedicated grid.

    Ffxiii crystarium skill tree was also an interesting concept for allowing all characters the chance to play any position on the battle field.

    The other issue you run into is that the grid concept will only function well for attribute levels and combat power. Common or specialized skills (lockpick, hacking, climb, persuade, barter, etc) would be far to numerous to add to a grid, so there would need to be a separate leveling system for those all together. For instance if I wanted my assassin to be an expert chef (stealth, cooking) those skills on a grid would be way far away from each other, making it almost impossible.

    I suppose the grid could include simple "rank up" slots, enabling you to rank up a skill of your choice. But, how practical that would be would depend heavily on what dice system you're planning on using. Savage worlds ascending dice system would actually work well in that regard, as at max you can invest 6 points into a skill. So being able to rank one skill up every once in a while would be plenty and fit nicely into the confines of the grid. Whereas a d20 system would inevitably lead to a huge unwieldy grid. Percentile dice would work ok too, I think. I'd have to work on that one a bit though.
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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Sithlyone on Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:52 am

    Kj_leigh wrote:Thinking along the lines of ffx spear grid, I believe that grid was split into several (6 I think) "zero points". If your grid was split up similarly, with a variety of points that a player could begin in, it would allow for a player to quickly level into whatever role they wanted to fill.

    The problem I see with starting from a central point would be the high chance of multiple characters following the same path. In ffx, even though characters start in a " class" grid, you soon are able to branch into whatever other grid you want to be in.

    Say you had a character who wants to be a tank; why wade through unnecessary starting grid points when you could drop into a "zero point" that is already created toward building a tank, yet with the opportunity to branch out later. If he were to start with all the other characters at a central location, chances are that for several sessions he would be almost identical to any one or more of the other characters. Stat-wise your tank would be indistinguishable from your medic until they branched away from each other.

    So instead of branching outward, why both branch inward with the higher skill levels being near the inner rings. I feel like the only other way to do it would be a descending skill tree (working down a column of branching skills) or go fully class based with each class having a dedicated grid.

    Ffxiii crystarium skill tree was also an interesting concept for allowing all characters the chance to play any position on the battle field.

    The other issue you run into is that the grid concept will only function well for attribute levels and combat power. Common or specialized skills (lockpick, hacking, climb, persuade, barter, etc) would be far to numerous to add to a grid, so there would need to be a separate leveling system for those all together. For instance if I wanted my assassin to be an expert chef (stealth, cooking) those skills on a grid would be way far away from each other, making it almost impossible.

    I suppose the grid could include simple "rank up" slots, enabling you to rank up a skill of your choice. But, how practical that would be would depend heavily on what dice system you're planning on using. Savage worlds ascending dice system would actually work well in that regard, as at max you can invest 6 points into a skill. So being able to rank one skill up every once in a while would be plenty and fit nicely into the confines of the grid. Whereas a d20 system would inevitably lead to a huge unwieldy grid. Percentile dice would work ok too, I think. I'd have to work on that one a bit though.

    Lots of good points here. At first glance I can see what you mean about the characters all being the same if they all start at the same point. So having them starting at different places isn't a bad idea.

    However, what if we did something like having a node or point be a "wildcard" where they if they select that node they can choose which feat or talent or skill they would like? That would allow each player to advance their character in whatever way they want.

    I also like your idea of having a tier system. The PC has to buy the first ability before they gain any real benefits. First level can have a +1 to the ability for 2 attempts (or rounds depending on the ability) then Second level can have a +2 to the ability for 5 attempts (or rounds depending on the ability) and so on. Or if the ability grants a dice increase it can go up 1 die step per tier or level of the ability.

    Your tier idea combined with a "Wildcard" nodes on the grid would keep the grid small but would allow for more variaty in character gen. The "Wildcard" nodes can be anything from typical talents/feats/skills to very specific task specialization (i.e. cooking, dancing or using shadow puppets). The PC would say, I buy "Wildcard node for 100 XP and I want to specialize in Tap dancing. (I can even make a special slot on the character sheet for specialization skills like that). Whereas another PC on his grid would go to the same node and say that he wants to buy the "Wildcard" node for 100 xp and gain +1 to his Dexterity Score. It would be a wildcard so as long as the PC is willing to pay the price for the node he/she can turn it into whatever he/she wants.

    Naturally, the Wildcard nodes would be more expensive and there would less of them on the board than other node types because they will be very valuable due to the fact that they are so flexible.

    Kj_leigh

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Kj_leigh on Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:16 am

    A way to further increase the variety of character types is to handle character gen outside of the grid. For example, have a set number of skills that a player can take, and a set number of rank up points that they can devide between those skills. Same for attributes, talents/edges, and hindrances. Once that base character is created, the player can drop into one of the starting nodes, depending in what role he wants to fill, and spend a few starting points to start branching out. Rank up nodes can be used to increase die rank of any skill the player chooses, while attribute rank up should probably be determined by what path on the grid they follow. Then the wildcard nodes could provide additional skills or edges.

    As far as XP goes, I would opt for a simpler AP (ability point) style over XP. Instead of buying a node for 200xp, you spend 2AP. This allows for scaling without having to keep track of huge amounts of XP. (Easier to say you have 152AP than 15,200XP)

    While on the subject of FF games, ffxv introduced team based talents. All party members share an AP pool, you have to choose whether to invest in specific characters +stat boosts, new skills) or in the talents for the team as a whole. (Team attacks, more XP gained) may be an interesting mechanic for a tabletop too.
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    Mrred82

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Mrred82 on Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:27 am

    Yes I was going to mention the ff15 trees. I like how there is a tree for each area like a tree for combat, team skills, abilities, team abilities and so on. As I do love the idea of one large grid, I feel it would be easier for all if there is a grid for either classes or types of combat (ex range, melee, hand to hand, tank,...) And then perhaps having one for skills or whatever else.
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    Mrred82

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Mrred82 on Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:34 am

    Also check out the path of exile grid system. It's more in-depth and I think more of what your looking for.
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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Mrred82 on Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:03 am

    Forget trees and grids. I feel a good simplified yet still deep way to do it would be just to have a list of abilities, talents, skills, feats, whatever and each have a cost and a prerequisite if necessary. And to make it neat and organized group into type of combatant. And you don't have to stick to any group. You just pick and choose.

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Kj_leigh on Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:04 am

    Found this interesting. http://thor.divnull.com/pub/exalted/charmtrees-20060324.pdf

    It's a summary of the skill trees from the game Exalted. It has separate trees for every skill. Almost reminds me of the Elder Scrolls constellation leveling system. Every skill, or genre of skills, given its own grid. Players choice what to focus on.
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    Sithlyone
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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Sithlyone on Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:17 pm

    Ok, here is my idea. I fully grant it isn't perfect and there may be better ways of accomplishing what we want. However I think the grid can work and I want it to work because it has several benefits.

    1. It can be simple to understand
    2. It can be easy to use
    3. It can keep everything in a single organized location
    4. It can look cool
    5. It can be a goal chart of sorts
    6. If done correctly, character advancement and XP can be a focal point of the game and not a stagnant part only filled with stats and waiting till the next level to advance.

    (I used Star Wars saga terms in my example image, I'm sure we will change those terms and probably make things a lot more streamlined, it was just easier for me to draw from those terms than to think up new ones at this point.)

    You can look at the image below and see that while it isn't complete (to much time to figure everything out at this point) you can get the picture. At first this may look just like any normal XP Grid but it has a lot packed into this little section of the grid.

    First, this is just a section of the grid, not the entire grid. Also don't pay attention to the graphics, the values or the locations, they can all be changed and will most likely be. I just needed to put something down in a systematic way to give me a starting point.

    Each player can be given a paper or digital Node Map/grid. Each player starts at the "Origin Point". Notice that the 18 blue spheres surrounding the Origin point all have basic character building information. The PC's or as a GM the NPC's will start by selecting their basic stats. In reality, there will need to be more than what I show here but you get the point of how it will work.

    If you notice, each "Node" has 4 white boxes. These boxes are showing how many times the character can take that particular ability. Each time they do, they check another white box and pay the ascending XP value. The value of the bonus, the number of boxes and the cost per bonus all can be adjusted. The point is, that to get to the next level on that particular ability, you don't need to wait several rounds or plow through unnecessarily needed abilities, but you just have to buy it when you want it.

    Now my idea was that this is just the initial increases. further along on the Map we can have another node with the same ability (ea. Strength) with another amount of ability increases. This way the PC as he/she advances they will get to that node eventually and can increase that ability again if they choose. However, they can advance it to the full amount right away on the initial node without having to wait.

    Some PC's will increase a particular skill/ability as far as they can while not touching another completely. This will make for some fantastically created characters that can be wildly different. We just need to come up with the amounts to charge for each advancement and the amount we give out at the beginning. Whether we call it XP or AP or Pips I don't care, doesn't matter, we just need to get the calculations correct so that the system will be balanced.

    Continuing on. Notice that I try to put the types of actions near their respective abilities? Obviously this isn't perfect right now but it gives you an idea of how we can give direction to this map. Shooters will go south H2H and Melee combatants will go West and Tanks will go North. This is a very rudimentary setup but it shows that with some planning we can really sculp the grid.

    If we streamline our abilities/skills/talents/feats we can make this grid very easy to use and the PC's won't have to plow through unwanted abilities to get to ones they want'

    Some ideas: - Not necessarily good ones, just spit balling at this point.
    1. Place Wildcard Nodes every so often that grant a bonus ability of their choice
    2. Use Nodes that connect two different parts of the sphere together (think wormhole) that will allow the PC to jump to another part of the sphere if they choose to do so.
    3. We set a value at how much our PC's start with so that they know how much they can buy. This will allow them to plan out their path along the grid accordingly.
    4. We have special powerful Nodes that give great bonuses, but they have big hindrances as well. This way each character doesn't get to powerful and the GM's can use their hindrances as a possibly story arch.
    5. If a PC doesn't want a particular Node but wants the Node beyond it, we can have a "purchase only" price. Basically the PC pays 10 XP and he buys the node but he doesn't get the benefit. This will allow him/her to get to their destination at a much lower cost and this will open up the path for other Nodes so they would need to basic fee of 10 xp.

    Make sure to click the "spoiler" button to see the Node Map. I have a lot of other ideas but right now I'm a bit on overload so I'll just post this and post any further ideas later. Take a look and let me know, I'm sure I'm not seeing everything but I really feel we can get this to work.

    I'm sure there are plenty of holes, so go ahead and poke away!
    Node Map:
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    Mrred82

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Mrred82 on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:00 am

    It seems a bit cluttered. Im sure there is a way to streamline it. Instead of those 4 boxes over every point maybe just have separate points to upgrade that stat but then that just adds more points. Having points for each individual stat can seem daunting for players. If we made a grid system like this, I know for a fact none of my players would like it but you Kenny. Its to much micromanagement, number crunchy. Games are going more skill based and cinematic. Possibly for stats we could figure out another way or a more streamlined, simplified yet still with the possibility of being deep if the player wants to go that far, and if not thats fine.

    Wildcard nodes and wormholes etc... seems to complicate things further. This means players will have to manually keep track of how they ended up on the other side or why they skipped these certain nodes or how. This is work that in rpgs we have the luxury of the computer figuring out all that and just letting us pick what we want without second guessing. Again, looking at the current players I play with, they will lose interest or I will have to keep up their characters for them, which I am not willing to do. I think while a grid would be cool, thinking about it more, I honestly do not think it is the best way for tabletop. There is a reason many of them have either trees or listed abilities.

    The complexity of a grid was not what I was looking for when I brought this up. I was looking for a way to get your character to be what you want him or her to be without having to micromanage or plan for the next 10 levels on what you want to get. You should be able to get the skills you want from early on, then work on perfecting those, cause really, none of the characters start as newborns. They usually start as adults so it only stands to reason that they should have skills in certain areas. Even if they have alot of skills but little experience in them. I think a skills based system is where its at. When I see my players creating new characters, what they seem to love most is picking their skills and complain when there arent skills listed like instrument playing, cooking, painting,... things like that that give characters personality. They could care less about how much damage a weapon does or their range or most of the time even stats. They want to know if they can persuade this bad guy to join them, or if they can pick locks or hack computers or even playing an instrument to distract people. Lol thats how my guys play and this was along the lines of what i was thinking when I suggested creating a system.

    I love how EOTE does force powers. You first buy the power with XP, then you use XP to strengthen the power by adding range or damage or multiple targets or an additional advantage or the size range etc. This would be cool to do with skills.

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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Kj_leigh on Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:37 am

    I have to agree with Paul at this point. While the grid is a really cool concept, even in a video game it can be confusing if not done really well. I reached out to another gaming ng community and the response was that it hasn't been done already for a reason lol.

    Maybe instead of focusing all level progression in a grid, you could have a more classic way of leveling skills/attributes and gaining abilities, but have a perk grid that only gives small bonuses. Each node could be bought with one point, but points are gained at a very slow rate. You could use the same grid for everyone since it doesn't effect they're overall stats. A +1 on a dex check or +5lb carry limit is more easily balanced than actual skill increases anyway.

    Think of catans city improvement instead of FF.
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    Sithlyone
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    Re: Experience Points, Sphere grid - Point Buy System

    Post by Sithlyone on Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:00 am

    Well, I'll accept both of your suggestions. I dont necessarily understand or agree with them but you both have more experience so I'll aqueous.

    I do think we could get it to work and I truly feel it would simplify the game, not complocate it. I can really see it and see it working.

    However lets move on.

    1. What does number crunchy mean? Its my understanding that we have to have stats to run a game. So how do we accomplish that without crunching some numbers?

    2. As far as giving charcters specific skills (such as cooking, dancing and/or singing) that can be a completely different mechanic that could be left up to each individual GM. Not really something we need to hardcode into a system.

    3. I feel that we need to take our specific groups out of the equation. When choosing what type of system we want to creqte we need to think big picture and unique. If our individual groups arent up to the challenge of playing the system then it is our job as the GM to equip them better.

    4. I want this system to be fun, deep and engaging. Whatever mechanic we come up with, it cant juat be a list of skills and talenta and feats. There has to be some kind of catch or challenge. Not saying it needs to be complicated or hard to understand but it needs to have meat on the bones. Perhaps the grid idea was a bad one, but lets not throw in the towel on making changes that are different.

    So this topic is closed since the grid is scrapped. If you have another idea, start a new thread with it in the title and lets work it over there.

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